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The Englishman (the Irish are Englishmen in the army) was not a master of languages, and did not understand the question; but when it was explained to him, he said, with the most sovereign contempt, “Heaven forbid, I'd touch sich a poor drunken baste of a crayture as that !"

Drunkenness developes nearly all the brutal and ferocious qualities of which human nature is capable. Among the worshippers at the altar of Bacchus, you will find the stupidity of the ass, the ferocity of the tiger, the libidinousness of the pig, the blindness of the bat, the filthiness of the nay, we pause, for we must not by such comparisons further libel the brute creation.

SO IS LIFE.
LIKE to the falling of a star,
Or as the flights of eagles are ;
Or like the fresh Spring's gaudy hue,
Or silver drops of morning dew;
Or like a wind that chafes the flood,
Or bubbles which on water stood :
Ev'n such is man, whose borrowed light
Is straight called in and paid to-night.
The wind blows out the bubble dies;
The Spring entomb’d in Autumn lies;
The dew dries up, the star is shot;
The flight is past-and man forgot.

DR. HENRY KING.

[graphic]

MYSTERIOUS visitant! whose beautious light
Among the wandering stars so strangely

gleams,
Like a proud banner in the train of night,
The emblazoned flag of Deity it streams;

Infinity is written in thy beams,
And thought in vain would through the

pathless sky
Explore thy secret course. Thy circle

seems

Too vast for time to grasp. O, can that eye
Which pumbers hosts like thee, this atom

earth descry?
No sane man gifted with the percep-
tion of the good and fair, as seen in na-
ture and in man, can doubt that "that
eye” which “numbers hosts" of suns,
and comets, and great galaxies of stars,
watches also the destinies of the green
world whereon man sits watching the
heaven with eyes of wonder, and learn-
ing a few of its secrets with humble
faculties, but sincere appreciation.

Comets have always been regarded as among the most marvellous phenomena of nature. Their sudden appearance in the night sky, as they rush up from the dark labyrinths of chaos into the splendour of the solar radiation, to vanish again almost as suddenly as they appeared, to wander once more in the deep infinitudes; their strange appearance and huge outline on the sky, as with “ horrid hair” they wheel along as if affrighted, and seem glad to get back into their own solitary haunts.

COMET OF 1680. All these circumstances surround them with wonder, and with those traits of mysterious agency which the superstitious are equally ready to invent and believe. In the year 44, B.C. the Romans regarded a comet which appeared, as a messenger sent to convey the soul of

Cæsar, who had been assassinated just before. Respecting the comet of 1768, the period of which was seventy-six years, Lalande wrote—“We shall see dissertations spring up again in the colleges, contempt among the ignorant, terror among the people, and seventysix

years will elapse before there will" Comet of be another opportunity of removing all Ancient Writers.

doubt. Famines, wars, deaths, and disasters, have all been predicated as the effects certain to follow the appearance of comets; and in more than one instance, government had to adopt sagacious expediences to allay the panic of the public at the approach of a comet. Milton refers to the comet as a presage of social disasters

Satan stood
Unterrified, and like a comet burned,
That fires the length of Ophiucus huge,
In th' arctic sky, and from its horrid hair,

Sbakes pestilence and war. In a general sense, a comet may be described as a heavenly body composed chiefly of vapour, having a bright nucleus to which is attached a train of light, called a tail. Frequently a hazy kind of luminous vapour surrounds them, and this having frequently the appearance of hair, has given the name comet, from kome, hair, to this class of erratic bodies. The movement of a comet is an immensely elliptical orbit, one end of which is in remote space, and the other almost in contact with the sun. It thus happens that comets experience in the course of their wanderings, the greatest extremes of heat and cold. A remarkable instance of this was seen in the comet of 1680, which approximated nearer to the sun than any body of which we have a record. With this comet came a train of fears, conjectures, and alarms, but in addition to these, it excited inquiry, and philosophy determined to benefit by the study of this object of the

popular dread. The comet appeared at the close of the year 1680, and continued visible till March, 1681, when it disappeared from terrestrial eyes. Flamstead, Halley, Newton, Bernoulli, and Cassini, were all engaged in observing it, and few appearances of the kind were more imposing in appearance, or attractive in scientific interest. Its magnitude was immense. Its tail or train . reached up to the zenith, when the body of the comet had set below the horizon, so as to extend over more than 180 degrees of the heavens. The length of this train was found to be 123,000,000 of miles, and in two days the nucleus emitted an additional extent of train equal to 60,000,000 of miles. Like a wrathful messenger it thus overspread the sky, and shot into the depths of far space its luminous appendage. Its rapidity of motion was almost incredible, for it spun along at the rate of 800,000 miles in an hour. This, however, was its velocity only when near the sun ; far removed from his beams, its pace is that of a snail compared with a racehorse, as if the cold regions into which it finds its way, benumb its faculties, and congeal its blood ; and like some of the lesser creatures of our own earth, it passes a winter of sluggish torpidity. According to Newton, this comet came within 144,000 miles of the sun's body, a proximity sufficient not only to scorch, but utterly destroy such a planet as the earth ; but in the case of the comet, it seemed only to revive it, and send it forth with renewed brilliancy and increased magnitude. If the motion of the comet had been stopped when in this position, it would have closed with the sun in three minutes—its velocity, however, prevented such a catastrophe, by constantly changing its place in reference to the sun's attraction. There is no body with which we are acquainted, but would have been dissipated at such a temperature as this mass was subjected to. Newton estimated it at two thousand times the heat of redhot iron.

In an historical point of view, this comet had several points of interest. It is believed to have been the one which appeared just after Cæsar's death, and also in the reign of Justinian, in the year 531, and again in the year

1106, in the reign of Henry II. Comparing these dates, and taking into account the elements of the comet's orbit as ascertained by the astronomers of 1680, it seems to have a period of 574 years; at the expiration of which, it appears again in our sky. If this is correct, this strange visitant will not be seen again till the year 2255. During the great interval between one appearance and another, this comet travels some 40,000,000,000 of miles, the extreme end of its orbit being 13,000,000,000 of miles from the sun. And yet even when removed to that distance from the solar luminary, the lamp of the comet is not quenched, its life-blood still flows and energises, and it bas strength left, spite of cold and darkness, and isolation from the warm, social worlds which roam together in the planetary system, to dash up again to the source of light and heat, and receive a new influx of life and power, at the very edge of that blazing furnace.

The prediction of the return of comets is one of those achievements of mathematical astronomy which we have ceased to regard with wonder. The rate of a comet's motion, and the shape of its orbit being ascertained, astronomers are able to say, when it may be again expected, and while there is no pretence of prophecy in these announcements, their fulfilment often creates surprise, and is at all times interesting. The first comet, whose return was predicted, fulfilled the prediction by appearing in 1682, a year after the disappearance of the one just noticed. Though far inferior to the former in dimensions and splendour, it has, from other reasons, become one of the most interesting bodies of the system. It presented a tail extending through thirty degrees of the hemisphere; and while science watched its movements, the eyes of the populace watched it without alarm ; a sense of security following the safe departure of the preceding. With this comet Halley associated similar appearances in the years 1531 and 1607, by a comparison of elements, says the present astronomer royal, such as none but Halley could have performed ; its period was stated at seventy-five years.

Continuing these analyses, Halley ventured to foretel its appearance in 1758; and identified it further as having

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